Mercer Island football holds on, but can't get past Liberty

In the first cold football night of the year, the Mercer Island team put Liberty through their paces on the field, but it wasn't enough for an Islander homecoming win. The Patriots earned the victory 28-11.

In what head coach Brett Ogata called a strong defensive first half, the Islanders held on with Liberty, keeping the No. 8 team scoreless through the first quarter. The Islanders, on the other hand, manuvered themselves into scoring position late in the first, after a Liberty's Jake Bainton fumbled the ball on the endzone line, to stop a strong Patriots drive.

Mercer Island answered with their first scoring drive of the night. Moving quickly downfield quarterback Jeff Lindquist eventually connected with Erik Stefanchik, who took the ball the remaining 11 yards for the touchdown. The Islanders made good on their two point attempt for an 8-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The teams continued their battle in the second quarter, with Mercer Island holding Liberty off until the last few minutes of the half. Liberty's Chandler Jenkins burst through with 5 minutes lefts in the half, but the touchdown was called back after the Patriots earned an illegal procedure flag on the play. Trying to keep their momentum the Patriots pushed back through, scoring with 2:10 left on the clock for a 8-7 game at the half.

The third quarter started relatively quitely before Liberty began earned numerous penalities on the field. Two ineligible receiver calls against Liberty, coupled with an interception with 8:03 on the clock, returned the ball to Mercer Island on their 40-yard line. But the Islanders couldn't turn the position into points on the field and the ball returned to Liberty with six minutes left in the quarter.

With gaining speed the Patriots pushed their game down the field, finding themselves on the 1-yard line, where the Islanders defense held off the touchdown for two plays before the Patriots scored with 1:14 left.

The third quarter ended with a 14-8 score in favor of Liberty.

The Islanders began the final minutes of the game in control, leading to Alex Wood scoring an 11-yard field goal to make it a 14-11 game.

But Ogata said Liberty simply started wearing the Islanders down, and the Patriots would go on to score two more in the closing minutes of the game.

The Islanders will travel to Sammamish next Friday to take on the Totems in a KingCo match. The team will return to Islander Stadium for All-Island Band Night on Oct. 29.

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